06 Feb Gokarna – A World Unto Itself
People kept telling me that I would love Om beach. It got its name from the crescent shape of the beach and rocks that looked like the Om symbol. Of course I was intrigued and drawn to the beach. Truth be told, I am drawn to beaches, period. When arriving once again via overnight bus for nine hours the options for drop off were Kudle or Om beach. I didnt feel the love at Om beach, and only stayed one night. Kudle Beach was the next beach over, closer to the city itself, Gokarna and it was a whole different story. Such great energy and people. I had friends there already which of course made for a more welcoming experience.
The beach itself was 700 yards or so and was a large sandy beach lined with guesthouses, which also served as restaurants and a mini grocer or at least where you could get essentials such a toilet paper, soap, detergent to wash your clothes and bottled water. Unless you ventured into Gokarna, a twenty minute walk from Kudle, there were no stores, shops or anything to buy. The cool thing is when you would venture into town before it got too hot there were always others doing the same thing so again it made for a close knit community that magically came together. Every night at sunset a drum circle would start, sometimes dancing and usually a bonfire came alive on the beach. There was also a foreigner market that emerged at sunset on the beach, much like arambol except on a much smaller, more intimate scale. The small scale made it easy to connect and meet others travellers. It was great to hear stories and take notes on what cool places they had been to or could even recommend to you. While I appreciate trip advisor and lonely planet they have made it so traveling is more commercial than about finding an authentic connection in an unknown land. There was a vibe of connection and community in Kudle. People were always playing, anything from cards, chess to more physical types of games and play, yoga, frisbee, hoola hooping, dancing, slack lining. You felt like you could join whatever was going on if you wanted to. If you didnt have that feeling and just sat and stared long enough you would be invited over to join so either way you were involved.
Side Note: There is a Finnish sauna and on occasion tamascale sweat lodge ceremonies go down.